October 11, 2005
Copies of the U.S. constitution appeared in mail boxes around Oklahoma Baptist University’s campus on Sept. 16, 2005, as a part of a new law enacted by Congress. This new law requires that all institutions that receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education, directly or indirectly, must put forth efforts to inform their constituents of the importance of the Constitution. The resulting Constitution Day will be an annual event held nation wide on Sept. 17.
“It’s quite acceptable for the government to encourage proper understanding of the government. Especially since their goal is not to squelch political conversation, but to encourage it,” said Dr. Glenn Sanders, professor of history and chair of the division of behavioral and social sciences.
Dr. Jim Colman, OBU’s senior vice president for academic affairs, contacted members of the division of behavioral and social sciences over the summer, asking professors of history and political science to do something to celebrate the new holiday.
“I am grateful to the division of behavioral and social sciences for agreeing to undertake this effort,” said Colman.
The copies of the Constitution that arrived in student’s mailboxes were provided by Congressman Ernest Istook’s office. Dr. Sherri Raney, assistant professor of history, was in contact with Istook’s aid, Steve Jones, who volunteered the copies of the constitution.
“All I did was call and beg,” said Raney. “The whole office was incredibly helpful through the whole process. The only delay was just getting more copies. Steve Jones scoured everybody’s office, literally. I think he’s ordering copies even now.”
Dr. Carol Humphrey, professor of history and OBU’s resident expert about the 18th century, typed a memo summarizing the history of the Constitution which was distributed to students along with the Constitution.
OBU history and political science faculty will be sponsoring Constitution Day activities next year as well, but are as yet unsure about what those activities will include.
“We’re hoping that in the course of the year we’ll be able to talk with students about that,” said Sanders. “With all of us working together I think we would be able to come up with something awesome.”